Video Of The O.J. Simpson Not Guilty Verdict Shows Why The Moment Went Down In History
Time seemed to stop when the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict was read. And it'll be read, once again, during the finale of FX's gripping anthology series American Crime Story on Tuesday night. Before you see the dramatized version, you can watch real video of O.J. Simpson being found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. According to The New York Times, in 1997, Simpson was found liable in their deaths during a civil suit and ordered to pay "$25 million in punitive damages to the families" of Brown Simpson and Goldman. But that first verdict became the moment heard around the country.
Personally, I can remember that my school called a special assembly and all of the young students and faculty watched the verdict on a giant, old TV on a cart. But I didn't really understand the trial and all of the complex issues surrounding it at the time. As you'll see from the video of the verdict below, the news was delivered at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) to a very tense Los Angeles courtroom. Once the words "not guilty" are uttered by the clerk for the murder of Brown Simpson, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran seems to pump his fists and then pats Simpson on the back. Simpson ekes out a smile. Cochran affectionately leans his head on Simpson's back, showing a lot of pride.
Simpson's smile grows once he hears the words "not guilty" for the charge of Goldman's murder. But it's at this moment when you can start to hear loud weeping — and the camera pans to show Goldman's family members, who are visibly upset at this turn of events. Outside of the courtroom, there were many different reactions to the news. Recently, Today shared a throwback video of the reaction to the Simpson verdict in Times Square, which includes cheers, honking, shouting, and some disappointment. According to Time magazine, 150 million viewers — 57 percent of the nation — tuned in to watch the verdict be read (including the president). Some famous names are included in that number: Former baseball player Steve Garvey, along with Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, watched from a room above the courtroom, according to a 1995 Time article.
In a 1996 interview with freelance journalist Ross Becker, Simpson revealed what was going through his mind on that day: "I was really numb. I must admit, until the day before, I thought it would be a hung jury ... I was relieved, but I was also numb. I was fighting my emotions ... I was trying to tell myself I had gotten through this with some kind of dignity and I didn't want to lose it at that moment." He said that all he wanted to do after the verdict was read was finally hug his children.
You can watch the verdict being read below.